Competitive Parenting

1988I thought I would never be one of ‘those’ pushy parent types but its like an itch you just have to scratch, again and again! At first it started with crawling, then walking, to sounds, words and colours. But now competitiveness harvests its ugly and unwanted self at sports day, our annual ‘best dressed pumpkin’ event and even homework projects! I am ashamed to admit it because its so not who I thought I would be. Today was one of those days, as both the husband and I were stood on a school field for a cross-country event for under 9s screaming  both like a fishwife “COME ON…you can do it Immie”.

Combined with the husband and I saying “Shit, she has taken the whole pace yourself too literally, and she is at the back of the line…she will never win now…do something”! This then spurted on the husband to move further up the field to shout some more ‘encouragement’! Shameless! And when she did in fact lose, I was all like “Well done sweetheart, I am so proud of you and you had such a bad cold” but was thinking, you could have ran faster, I saw you stop like twice, FFS! I am going to hell!

Whereas the husband was like, “Well done” but I could tell he was really like, “We will discuss this later”, which means he will politely tell her in some rather tactful way that she could have tried harder! Again awful, we are the WORST!

Last year when Immie, our number one child, ran for sport day and she came 2nd! She should have come first as she slowed between the white line and the ribbon! It was a matter of milliseconds and by the very fact I am telling you this…you can see this shit clearly matters! I am one of those parents! Which is all rather strange, because anyone who knows me from school (feel free to comment) knows I was the least competitive child. I actually hated competitive people, I thought it was all rather ugly and unnecessary, just like PE! I am the LEAST sportiest person.

However as I have grown up and I am no longer forced to do the bleep test and find 100 ways to forge my mothers signature for a sick note, I strangely now enjoy exercise and even running! If I became famous for running (that will not happen btw) but say if I ended up the next Paula Ratcliffe, my old PE teachers would piss their pants laughing so hard as they would have never seen that coming! Ok, so I am not even that good at running, and I still hate, well I am actually scared of any competitive running, I even avoid all those charity type runs too!

And because of that I really do not want my children to be the unsporty type. I acted all girly about my lack of sporting ability at school and I want the complete reverse for my girls! I want them to try to enjoy a variety of sporting activities and not just the assumed girlie ones like “Netball”. I fecking hated that one, because once someone threw the ball at me, and I caught it all unexpectantly and it ripped of a few off my nails which had taken me an age to grow! Pointless game of catch, right?

So when our Immie got picked to run for the school I was uber proud! And I never let on about my lack of sporting ability, or my dislike of PE! I want her to have the confidence to just try, I don’t even care if she wins, but then when she doesn’t I kinda do! And when she does so well, I am so bloody proud that she isn’t like me!!!

So today, I realised we both hadn’t intended on becoming ‘those parents’ but we try so hard in so many ways to give them all the ‘best’, or our ‘best’ and we want them all to succeed in whatever it is they are good at. We say to the Immie a lot, “We just want you to do your best, Imogens best, no one elses”. I’m not worried about the others as someone else’s full potential is not ours. It’s the same with her school work, we just want the very best! Pushy or not its all with good intentions.

But today is another reminder, that we only want to boost her confidence and not zap it! And we were not alone, as I smiled as I watched my husband give our daughter the pre race pep talk as the other dads were doing the exact same! I now realise that being competitive isn’t all that ugly, it’s what drives us. It’s the reason we are who we are. We become a version of ourselves that is built upon others ideas, sometimes their set backs and others achievements. Getting a degree whilst having a young child inspired a few friends around me that realised if I could do it, so could they! We bought a house young and renovated it because we had some friends who had done the same just before us, and we were inspired! A friend of mine lost weight on weight watchers after having a baby, so I joined and lost weight too! I am a follower! What a sheep!

But I thank you competitiveness, I don’t always dislike you, you can motivate the husband and I and our children too. However, please don’t turn us into monsters in the process! Thank you kindly.



One thought on “Competitive Parenting

  1. Sally says:

    I so understand this part of parenting, I was the who would run up and the lines and shout and scream encouragement to my children, “who, by the way hated me for doing so”. But eventually they all did what was best for themselves, as they certainly didn’t want me, their Mother turning up at the side lines, screaming like a banshee and having other parents giggle at me because I had no shame. Oh, they were good times for me and I remember them with fondness, Mt children, mmmm, not so, giggles x


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